The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will on Sunday host a two-day consultative meeting with faith-based organizations and traditional leaders in preparation for the 2014 elections.
The workshop, which will end on Monday, March 18, will take place at Protea Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park.
The theme for the workshop is, ‘Partnership with Traditional Leaders and Faith-based Organisations in Delivering the 2014 Elections and Beyond’.
IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said as with civil society organizations, the Electoral Commission valued the contribution of traditional leaders and faith-based organizations in supporting and advancing democracy in South Africa.
“We have been partnering with the sector for effective interventions in our communities that seek active citizenship, especially with respect to marginalized and vulnerable groups,” she said.
Since 1994, Bapela said they have seen the two sectors playing a pivotal role in supporting electoral democracy.
“They have keenly participated in domestic observer programs, conflict mediation in areas where political violence threatens, and in providing voter education/democracy education to communities.
“The IEC would like to see this active and positive contribution continuing and increasing. This is a huge responsibility which cannot be left in the hands of the IEC,” she said.
Bapela said the workshop was the initiative of the IEC to launch a conversation with faith-based organizations and traditional leaders, and to reaffirm these sectors as important partners in democracy. Moreover, it was to ensure that elections in South Africa are free, fair and credible.
“We have invited representatives of both sectors in all nine provinces to get a general and also detailed perspective of issues affecting these organizations in the nurturing of democracy in South Africa.
“It is our hope that through this engagement, we will be able to network, share ideas and develop a concrete partnership in safe-guarding and nurturing our democracy,” said Bapela.
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